A small-town, down in Kentucky. There used to be a big coal mine there that employed a lot of people, but now it’s closed. The people have less money, but they’re still fine. But beneath this land of beauty lays a secret that could kill millions. Jack Tyger’s the man who’ll try to save the situation. He’s an undercover agent of Environment Protection. And since he’s played by Steven Seagal, Tyger is also a badass karate champion and a firearm pro. But the town is corrupted and no one seems willing to talk.
This ain’t the greatest story ever, it’s even plain stupid by moment and it’s not really original, but it’s still interesting. It’s almost like a modern Western. Tyger’s the new man in town who’s determined to help the population and fight the bad guys, who are hillbillies instead of cowboys. There’s even some romance involved, as Tyger gets to know a mysterious country girl. That last element is often seen in Westerns, but it’s surprising in a Seagal movie.
What’s even more surprising is that Steven Seagal is actually good in this film. He’s believable as a nice guy, and he’s actually very funny by moments. He’s no Clint Eastwood, but he’s getting better. I also liked Kris Kristofferson’s performance. He’s really good and funny as the bad guy. The film is directed by a talented new filmmaker, Felix Enriquez Alcalá. His visual style is cool, the photography is great and the music is good enough. Alcalá achieved to turn what could have been a crappy movie into an enjoyable experience. The scene in which Tyger, in his pick-up, is chased by a big truck is very well directed. I hope to see Alcalá working on a movie with more potential. Anyway, this is mostly a typical Seagal movie, but it’s fun. There are countless scenes in which the bad guys threaten him, he replies some menacing bullshit and then he beats the shit out of them. That doesn’t make “Fire Down Below” a breath-taking action movie, but it’s fair entertainment. I’ve seen a lot better, but also a whole lot worse.